Monday, November 19, 2007

Dumpster Diving is saved in my home town!

A local borough assemblyman brought up the spectre of a law which would penalize and fine people caught dumpster diving at any of the local trash collection sites around town. At the public meeting to vote on this (ridiculous) potential law, the borough meeting hall was swamped with dedicated recyclers, dumpster divers and concerned townsfolk. Literally dozens of people signed up to speak against the proposed law and during an incredible 5 hours, the whole idea was unanimously voted down by any and all concerned. Go Fairbanksans! Fight for your right to Dive! Read the newspaper article....

This town has NO RECYCLING whatsoever. Folks like myself (and now I'm reassured there are many, many of us) are the only dam diverting useful materials and items away from the landfill. Our efforts cost the city nothing! At many, but not all, of the garbage collection sites (called Transfer Stations), there are covered, open air platforms where useful items can be left to be shared with whomever wants them. These Transfer Station Platforms are fabulous.....but too often I see people throwing perfectly good things----household goods, furniture, clothing, wood, windows, etc.----into dumpsters when the platform is a scant 30 feet away. Sadly, some of the best things I've found at the Transfer Station were IN dumpsters, not placed on the re-use pad. Sad! In a wonderful turn of events, one speaker at the borough meeting suggested that instead of fining people for pulling things out of dumpsters, the city should be fining people for tossing useful things INTO dumpsters.

If you want to read about an old post of mine where I wax lovingly and poetic on the Transfer Station, look here...

or here....

or here.

The very, very best thing that Fromage and I found together was a cast iron, five and a half foot, clawfoot bathtub. (And yes, it was very, very hard to get out of the dumpster!) It has some small cosmetic damage to the porcelain, but I had the rusty exterior sand-blasted ($100) and then I sealed it with rustoleum ($10), painted it a pretty color ($15) and bought plumbing and hardware pieces online ($250) and scrubbed it till it sparkled (elbow grease=priceless). This restored, once land-fill bound tub is my sweet respite for a hot bath after a cold ski. Given that a junky, four foot tub was for sale for $600, and I priced a new tub at $1000 locally, plus another $1000 to have it shipped to Alaska.....you can see how I got a fabulous deal from chez trash.

I'm proud to be a dumpster diver.

Tell me about your dumpster/trash finds! Just click the "comments" button below. As I've said so often before.....I love comments.

9 comments:

f. pea said...

what a happy, happy post! jeez, i have a zillion things in my house that i found on the curb waiting for the trash pickup. that's where all my houseplants come from - half-dead little changelings they were then.

Lovely Lili said...

Although I'm not the jump into the dumpster type, I know of many finds that people have pulled out of the dumpster. My coworker told me a story of helping a fellow pull out a dining room table, six chairs, and two bookcases out of a dumpster and they were all hardwood. Nice!

Carson said...

Nice one on the bathtub Eero!
I have never ,technically speaking, "dumpster dove" but as a student, I have furnished many a humble abode with stuff left out on the street for council pickups.

cochabamba said...

hey girl
you know i love the dumpster diving.
my best score was a completely intact 1940's office chair that someone had thrown out because a hinge had fallen off. all i had to do was re-hook it.
rich folks...
i still have one of your dumpster finds that you passed on to me when you left seattle. that beautiful little nightstand/table. i refinished it and it still gleams there by my bed. thanks.
my latest score in my hood...
a tool box with a complete set of metric wrenches.
dive on, sister.

Jules said...

can't say i have ever gotten IN a dumpster, and i didn't go to the meeting... but still i was such a proud fairbanksan listening to that assembly meeting on the radio. my raised beds are entirely made from wood scavenged from the dumpsters, so in essence these carrots i'm eating right now come indirectly from the dumpster. ooohhhh... you have absolutely no idea how envious i am of your clawfoot tub!
happy thanksgiving!

brittany said...

yeah for dumpster diving!! I've rescued many items from curbs... diving is not something I've actually done ... just scrounging through boxes left on nyc curbs or san francisco sidewalks. one of my favorite memories was when i was moving out of my home in berkeley and my roommates and i left on the curb a bunch of our furniture we couldn't take with us... and I loved seeing the happy faces of people pulling up to take it away. I felt so overjoyed that my things were going to good homes.
In truth, I was pretty baffled as to how this got to be an issue the assembly thought to consider anyway.

bike&beer said...

i once got a computer out of a dumpster at heartrider's building. he needed a dvd drive, and the computer had one! we took it out and i removed the drive (and a cd drive too) and installed it on his computer, and all was good. we then put the lighter carcass back in :-)

johnny said...

this lil' revolution of yours gives me hope...Now if I could find a way to get people in nyc to give a damn, instead of throwing everything out....If you saw the amount of garbage piled on the curb everyweek around this city you would wonder like I do, where it all is going to fit....

Sarah said...

wow, I am really envious of your dumpster diving savvy! A clawfoot bathtub...what an amazing find! I have to admit that right now I am in a stage of my life where I'm trying to downsize my # of porsessions..but if I knew I could just walk over to the nearest dumpster & possibly find an antique tub, I might be tempted to change my mind ;-)